Friday, August 20, 2010

World Quilt Show, Manchester, NH

The Mancusco "World Quilt Show" with nearly 50% from places other than the US, especially the English speaking parts of the world [Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand] but also Japan, Germany, one or two from Belgium is at the Raddison center in Manchester, New Hampshire this weekend. A traveling show it will go next to Palm Beach, Florida. It was so big -- about 400 quilts -- it took up two large exhibit halls. There were about 200 vendors also many of whom also showed wonderful quilts. Rachel and I planned this trip all summer, it's about 2 and a half hours -- or would be without being lost or having rush hour traffic. We wished we were staying overnight and could be leisurely about looking at the show.

I did not take enough photos; I was overwhelmed with size and knew we couldn't look at them to our satisfaction. The first one above is among the minority of light-hearted, amusing quilts. This is called "Which came first?" As with all the photos, you can enlarge it by clicking on it and enlarge it yet more by clicking on that one. This quilt was so large I couldn't get the borders -- there was a broken egg down in the lower right corner. The quilt was made by Anne Morrell Robinson and Grace Whiting. I didn't write down where they are from. Among fun quilts I didn't photograph was one of three ladies relaxing with glasses of wine after attending such a quilt show -- very cartoony; we came upon it about half an hour before the end and we totally related to their exhaustion. Another that was not meant to be satirical but was fun was a circus quilt where the artist had molded every face [10 or 12] of the performers in clay which was then painted appropriately - each was entirely unique.

The hours and hours of work that went into many of the more elaborate quilts was staggering, one had 50,000 tiny crystals each hand applied and that was only the embellishment! In fact a great many of the quilts had a lot of glitz or bling, sparkling fabrics and additions. Often it was done very tastefully and truly added to the work. Very rarely did I feel embellishments were gratitutious.
< onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""> This quilt is called "Reproduction Stained Glass" I suppose Rachel and I were especially drawn to it because her husband, Patrick, is a glass artisan. Unlike some of the art quilts that were made up of many small pieces, this seemed to make a decidedly strong artistic statement because of the black and gold outlines. In fact as I look at it now I realize the expression is much like work Patrick has done.

This afternoon Rachel and I agreed we had especially been thinking of a quilt that the maker said had been inspired by strings of colored pearls. I did not photograph it and wish I had. It use many round appliques but not directly relating to strings of pearls; it's colors were lovely and the design beautifully balanced.

I also didn't photograph any of the three-panel quilts of which there were several including one that was somewhat like a Japanese kimono which was mostly gold silk and had a beautifully done Chinese junk on the middle piece with organza sails that overlapped beautifully. I find three-panel art works very satisfying.
The final piece here [I'll show another couple tomorrow as well] is called Library/labyrinth, by Alicia Merrill of the UK. Below is a detail from it. The complexity of colors and surface treatment of the many pieces was restrained and yet powerful. It me it's a kind of artwork I could happily live with for a long, long time because there is much to discover in it. I would not grow tired of it, or bored [as is very apt to happen with my own quilts when they have been hanging for a few months -- I change them around]. I love when there is writing on parts of a quilt as on this one.
I have a couple more quilts to show tomorrow. This doesn't begin to give an idea of the variety and interest of the quilts in the show. I will write about trends I saw beyond what I've mentioned here. Among the specific grouping was a dozen or fifteen from UK all the traditional "grandmother's flower garden" hexagons on paper piecing. If one loves tradition and vintage it was surely a pleasure; for Rachel and I it had no excitement compared to the modern art quilts. There were very few traditional American quilt designs in this show. I enjoy lots of traditional quilts as I've written about the other two local shows I've seen this summer. But better still, I love the contemporary innovation, the movement toward artistic expression with new techniques, hand dyed fabrics and fascinating embellishment. It was such a feast for the eyes and so full of inspiring beauty as to be almost paralyzing.

In case I go off on other tangents tomorrow and forget, two bold pictorial quilts that I believe will appear in publications over the next several months were very different but equally strong. There was a large quilt showing Medea, looking crazed, driving a chariot as she escaped after her murderous rage -- it raced through clouds pulled by a very believable dragon. I don't know if the quilter had an older illustration in mind or if it was entirely original. Certainly the work was brilliantly realized. And the second one, which I have already seen in some publication, was a herd of cattle, close up, only a little less than life size rushing right at the viewer -- pure power and, again, brilliantly accomplished in fabric and stitching.

I will post more tomorrow. I wish I had far more photos and that I had been assigned by some paper or magazine to write a long revue of this show -- there was so much that was exciting.

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姚义丰 said...
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